2019 Minneapolis Supercross 250 Class Race Report

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner leads wire to wire

Austin Forkner
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner led all 20 laps of the main event at the first round of the 2019 Eastern Regional 250SX Championship at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.Brown Dog Wilson

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner began his 2019 Eastern Regional 250SX championship campaign with what many would consider a perfect day at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Forkner began by qualifying fastest in practice. During the night show, he captured the holeshot in the second heat race and jumped out to an early lead, opened a gap on the competition, and crossed the finish line in first place. In the main event, Forker once again grabbed the holeshot and led wire to wire in the 20-lap main event to achieve his first victory of the 2019 season. Forkner heads into the next round at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a three-point lead in the championship standings and the point leader’s red plate.

“Today was like a dream come true,” Forkner said. “You put in a lot of work all off-season and you come to the first round never sure of where you will stack up compared to [the] competition. I would have never believed you if you told me I would come here today and be fastest in qualifying, holeshot my heat race, win my heat race, holeshot the main event, and then win the main event. It’s just crazy and I can’t thank my whole Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for giving me the best possible equipment to accomplish what we did today. I am excited for [Arlington] and ready to keep this train rolling!”

Jordon Smith
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith got a flat tire on the sight lap of the main event. His mechanic finished installing a replacement wheel just moments before the gate dropped. Smith finished in the runner-up spot despite the adversity he faced.Brown Dog Wilson

Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith began his night by winning the first 250SX heat race. During the sighting lap prior to the main event, he got a flat tire, which his mechanic finished fixing just moments before the gate dropped. Smith pulled a top-five start and climbed his way into second by lap five. He went down on lap seven and dropped back to fourth, but was able to fight his way back to second by the halfway mark, where he stayed for the remainder of the race.

“[They] got that [wheel] changed so fast and I can't thank my mechanic enough,” Smith said. “Christian, Wayne [and] all of them to get that wheel on and get it switched, that was unbelievable. Then I had time for about one deep breath before I took off, and off we were.”

Justin Cooper
Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper made a pass just before the beginning of the last lap to move into third, achieving his first 250SX podium of his career.Brown Dog Wilson

Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper qualified second early on in the day and in the night show, finished third in the first heat race. In the main event, Cooper made a pass just before the beginning of the last lap to take over third place, his first 250SX podium of his career.

“The bike was awesome all day and the team made adjustments to fix anything I was uncomfortable with,” Cooper said. “I was able to predict exactly what the bike was going to do throughout the race, even with the track conditions getting worse. I had a terrible start, but felt great on the bike the whole main and just had to maintain the race as best I could with all the chaos around me. Everything about the day went smooth except a little first-race jitters in the heat race. First podium at my second Supercross race ever—what more is there to say? It’s a great feeling!”

Alex Martin
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin finished fourth in his debut race with his new team. “Qualifying went pretty well,” Martin said. “I was a tad too aggressive, but overall, I was very close to the leaders. You could basically throw a blanket over all of us. I was very comfortable on the bike. Jordon Smith and I had a really good pace going in the heat race. I had the fastest lap time out of both heat races, so I was happy with that. In the main event, I got off to a great start and felt really good on the RM-Z250. Smith, Martin Davalos, and I had a battle going. Unfortunately, Davalos and I came together and he went down. I apologized to him afterward. I thought I had third in the bag, but a few lappers messed me up, which allowed Justin Cooper to set me up for the pass. It was a bummer to not finish on the podium, but to be honest, fourth is the best start I’ve ever had to a Supercross season. The goal was to get the first round out of the way. This is a great result to build off of.”Brown Dog Wilson

JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin and Geico Honda’s Chase Sexton rounded out the top five, respectively.

Chase Sexton
Geico Honda’s Chase Sexton suffered two crashes in his heat race, and then ran into the back of Alex Martin in the main event when Martin made a mistake. Sexton picked himself up again and pushed through for fifth. “It was fun getting back to racing!” Sexton said. “My riding and speed were solid. I just struggled with some mistakes in the night show. [In the] main event, I was feeling decent and was looking to make a pass for third but [Alex Martin] ended up missing a rhythm and I almost landed on him. I really had nowhere to go and I went down. I ended up fifth, which is not what I wanted, but we will improve this week and come out swinging at [Arlington].”Brown Dog Wilson
Mitchell Oldenburg
Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Mitchell Oldenburg qualified fifth in practice and was runner-up in the second heat race. He got pinched off at the start of the main event and found himself shuffled all the way back to 13th position. The Texan worked his way up to sixth place by the time the checkered flag flew. “Today was decent,” Oldenburg said. “Practice went well for me. I felt really comfortable and the bike was working awesome. Tonight just wasn’t the best night for me though. I didn’t feel that great. Not racing for a year was tough, and it showed tonight. I’m looking forward to building off of this and getting ready for the next few races and [Arlington] this weekend.”Brown Dog Wilson
Kyle Cunningham
HRT/Freedom Powersports/Merge Racing/Honda’s Kyle Cunningham wasn’t sure if he would be racing in 2019 just four weeks prior to the Minneapolis round, but he put together a program and achieved seventh place in Minnesota.Brown Dog Wilson
Brandon Hartranft
Cycle Trader/Rock River/Yamaha’s Brandon Hartranft had an eventful day with bike issues, but put his YZ250F in eighth in the main event at US Bank Stadium. “[Minneapolis] was a roller coaster,” Hartranft said. “From my bike not starting and missing the first two practice sessions, then finally getting it running for practice session three. I only rode seven laps on the track before the night show. [Finishing] eighth in the main didn’t feel the best, but I’ll take it. I can’t thank [my team] enough for their hard effort [and am] ready for [Arlington].Brown Dog Wilson
Jordan Bailey
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jordan Bailey worked his way up to a top-10 battle early on in the main event. He continued to charge late in the race to ultimately finish in ninth in his first-ever professional Supercross race. “It was a good start to my first Supercross,” Bailey said. “Practice went well and the track was pretty good. I got fourth in the heat race, and in the main my start wasn’t very good, but we got ninth. I’m happy with it to start with, but we’ve got to keep getting better.”Brown Dog Wilson
Kyle Peters
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Kyle Peters found redemption at the same venue where a knee injury prematurely ended his 2018 season. Fully healthy now, Peters ended the evening in 10th. “The day was okay,” Peters said. “I rode stiff and was fighting myself. The heat race went well, but I was tight. I had a bad start in the main event, didn’t breathe, and pumped up really badly. I was stuck behind a downed rider for a bit, which messed me up. The track was tough to pass on. You had to be aggressive. I know what I need to work on, but it was fun to be back behind the gate again.”Brown Dog Wilson

2019 Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Austin Forkner Kawasaki 26
2 Jordon Smith KTM 23
3 Justin Cooper Yamaha 21
4 Alex Martin Suzuki 19
5 Chase Sexton Honda 18
6 Mitchell Oldenburg Yamaha 17
7 Kyle Cunningham Honda 16
8 Brandon Hartranft Yamaha 15
9 Jordan Bailey Husqvarna 14
10 Kyle Peters Suzuki 13